What the Bachelor Doesn't Tell You: All About Polyamory

Whether you’re a true Bachelor fanatic, or just starting to get into the reality series, at some point you’ve probably wondered to yourself, how do these women do it? Sure the one-on-one dates are something out of a romance novel and the Bachelor himself is always guaranteed to be a total dreamboat, but dating the same guy as 25 other women can be pretty chaotic. Of course, we can’t forget to mention that in signing up for a reality show, the women are essentially signing up for drama and at the end of the day it’s all in the name of good TV, but one can’t help but imagine what this experience is truly like. It seems like few individuals would feel comfortable letting their partner see other people, yet believe it or not, many people out there in the real world welcome the idea. These couples call themselves polyamorous.

“Polyamory is a word that describes any relationship that isn’t monogamous.” says Riley, a Biology major from the University of Vermont. “It includes the sort of ‘classical’ open relationship where two committed people have relationships on the side, triads and other closed more-than-one partner relationships, as well as relationships where people try not to prioritize one partner over another.” Polyamory can be defined in more than one way because it bends and fits to each individual’s interpretation and there some couples who choose not to wear any labels at all. Although, saying that polyamory is the opposite of monogamy does cause controversy, because in many ways polyamorous couples act the same as monogamous couples. In fact, if you met them on the street you may not be able to tell that they are poly, they’re like relationship ninjas. Polyamory simply allows for couples and/or individuals in relationships to form connections with others outside of their dominant partnership without breaking the bonds of trust. But don’t let the carefree musings of poly icon, Ilana Wexler of Broad City, fool you into thinking that maintaining a poly relationship is an easy ordeal. Even poly people aren’t immune to jealousy.

“Honest communication is key. I think it's the most successful part to any relationship, poly or not.” says Rebekah Krushenick, an Early Childhood Education Major from the University of Vermont. “People always say trust is the most important factor in a relationship, but how do you think that gets there? You don't walk into a relationship immediately trusting them with your heart. You have to build trust, and to do that, you need honest communication.” In order for a polyamorous relationship to be success, all parties must be upfront from the very beginning about their intentions and speak with honesty throughout the entirety of the relationship. One of the key differences between polyamory and the much more common concept of an open relationship is communication. Polyamory is more than just letting your partner sleep around, it’s a mindset and relationship orientation that isn’t suited for every individual or every partnership. Polyamory requires open communication and honesty about all relationships taking place, which may mean that in order to accommodate everyone’s comfort zones, boundaries may be set. For example, some poly couples only have sex with others as a couple, and some poly couples may not be comfortable with their partners having multiple romantic relationships. Some polyamorous couples get married and have children with dominant partners, while others don’t have dominant partners at all. There isn’t a guideline to how a polyamorous relationship should be performed, it all depends on the individual's preferences and what they feel comfortable with as a couple. Once a polyamorous relationship becomes unbalanced and communication is not set in place, jealousy, betrayal, and ultimately heartbreak around bound to follow.

Even though polyamory is not common in our society, many people are aware that it exists and carry false perceptions of what it entails. Polyamory is not all about sex. It’s not a free for all where the man gets to sleep with as many women as he wants or the couple just has countless orgies. Believe it or not, polyamory is a lot more like your relationship than you might think. In fact, this stereotype is just what non-poly people have imagined polyamory to be based on what little information that the media provides on the subject.

“I think society portrays polyamory as a very sex based relationship. I don't feel that it's an accurate portrayal, because society tends to disregard emotional attachment or romantic involvement.” says Rebekah. Just because a couple chooses to have sex with people outside of their relationship, it doesn’t mean that this is the main reason that they call themselves polyamorous. Not everyone chooses to embark on romantic relationships with one person at a time and often times, poly people see their relationships like modified friendships. There are many different types of friends and no one tells you that you can’t have more than one friend, so why put a limit on the number of romantic or sexual friends as long as it is consensual? There is nothing wrong with having multiple sexual/romantic partners as long as everyone is consenting.

In addition, people assume that only men can be polyamorous because they often believe that these sorts of relationships are all about having sex. Who can blame them really, considering that men have been using the polyamorous mindset as an excuse for infidelity since basically the beginning of time, *cough* we’re looking at you Henry VIII. And while nothing is wrong with a men who like to have sex with a lot of women and or couples who participate in orgies on the regular, but don’t let these overarching stereotypes cloud the myriad of different routes of polyamory. Because if you haven’t realize, it’s 2016 and some polyamorous relationships don’t even include men at all (and some monogamous relationships don’t either!). Women are just as capable of wanting a polyamorous relationship as a man is and if you are one of those ladies, remember that being poly is totally okay.

Polyamory is a relationship structure that is meant to empower and it survives on the equal distribution of power amongst all genders involved. If having a poly relationship is something that feels right for both you and your partner, why not go for it? Who the fuck cares what someone else thinks of the way you choose to love. It’s your body, your life, and most of all, your choice.

Comments

About The Author

Studying Abroad in Firenze, Italy. Current Vice President and Blog Mentor of Her Campus Hofstra. Contributing Writer and Intern at Inked Magazine. A writer of all things body modification, beards, veganism, and feminism related.